Rory Sabbatini

Rory Sabbatini
Rory Sabbatini 2008 US Open cropped.jpg
Personal information
Full nameRory Mario Trevor Sabbatini
Born (1976-04-02) 2 April 1976 (age 45)
Durban, South Africa
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight165 lb (75 kg; 11.8 st)
Nationality South Africa
 Slovakia (since 2019)
ResidenceDurban, South Africa
CollegeUniversity of Arizona
Turned professional1998
Current tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins8
Highest ranking8 (23 September 2007)[1]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour6
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT2: 2007
PGA ChampionshipT39: 2008
U.S. OpenT30: 2011
The Open ChampionshipT16: 2019
Medal record

Rory Mario Trevor Sabbatini (born 2 April 1976) is a South African-Slovak professional golfer.[2][3] Sabbatini won six times on the PGA Tour between 2000 and 2011 and was runner-up in the 2007 Masters. He spent 21 weeks in the world top-10 in late-2007 and early-2008, with a high of 8th. Sabbatini won the silver medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, representing Slovakia.

Early life

Sabbatini was born in Durban, South Africa, and has Italian, Scottish and Irish ancestry.[4] He started playing golf at age 4, but concentrated on it from age 12. He was recruited by the University of Arizona, turned professional in 1998 and joined the PGA Tour in 1999. He was the youngest member of the tour that year.

Professional career

During the first decade of the 2000s, Sabbatini had five PGA Tour wins; he finished 2006 placed 12th on the money list. In September 2007, he reached the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time,[5] He spent 21 weeks in the top-10 between September 2007 and March 2008, with a high of 8th.[6][7]

Sabbatini tied for second at the 2007 Masters Tournament[8] and the 2007 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He won the Par 3 Contest at the 2008 Masters Tournament.[9]

Sabbatini has represented South Africa in the World Cup six times and won the event with Trevor Immelman in 2003.

In his first Presidents Cup appearance in 2007, Sabbatini had a 0–3–1 record, as the International team was defeated by the United States team.

In May 2009 Sabbatini captured his fifth PGA Tour title by winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship by two strokes over Brian Davis. He broke the tournament record for scoring with a score of 269 (−19), beating the previous record of 270 (−18).[10]

In March 2011 Sabbatini won his sixth PGA Tour Title at The Honda Classic with a one stroke victory over South Korea's Yang Yong-eun. Sabbatini entered the final round with a five stroke lead over the rest of the field, helped by a course record-equalling 64 on day two. He started his final round in solid fashion with an early birdie at the 3rd hole, however as the round progressed he made bogeys at the 9th and 14th, meaning that Yang was able to cut that lead to just one, with a spectacular tee shot on the par-three 15th that landed 18 inches past the pin. On the next hole though, Sabbatini holed a clutch birdie putt to tighten his grip on the title and played out the 17th and 18th in even-par to hold on for a one stroke victory. This win also secured him a place at the 2011 Masters Tournament.

On 15 December 2019, Sabbatini won the QBE Shootout with partner Kevin Tway.[11]

Sabbatini qualified to represent Slovakia at the 2020 Summer Olympics and won the silver medal.


In the final round of the 2005 Booz Allen Classic, apparently frustrated by the slow pace of play by his partner, Ben Crane, Sabbatini finished the 17th hole and walked over to the next tee, leaving Crane behind to complete the hole by himself. He received heavy criticism, and some sympathy, and later apologised for the incident.[12]

Sabbatini also made waves following the Wachovia Championship in May 2007 when, after leading the field by one stroke after day three and then giving up five strokes to Tiger Woods to lose the tournament on Sunday, he proclaimed that Woods was "more beatable than ever."[13] In the final round of the 2007 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he had a fan removed who heckled him with questions about Tiger Woods.[14] Then, in December of the same year, more controversy was stirred when he withdrew from the Target World Challenge, an off-season event hosted by Tiger Woods, becoming the only player in history to withdraw from that event.[15]

In 2011, Sabbatini created more controversy when at the Northern Trust Open, after hitting his ball in the rough, a volunteer helped to locate the ball, but Sabbatini, thinking that the volunteer had moved his ball, yelled at him. He later apologised to avoid being penalised.[16] Later in 2011, at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Sabbatini got into a heated, profanity-laced argument with playing partner Sean O'Hair for undisclosed reasons. His penalty was also undisclosed because of the PGA Tour's policy.

Citizenship change

In December 2018, Sabbatini became a citizen of Slovakia, the home country of his wife and stepson.[17] Sabbatini's wife's cousin is the vice president of the Slovak Golf Association. Initially, there was speculation that the move was made in order for Sabbatini to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, but he said it was to help grow the game in that country. The Olympics use the OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking) for qualification and the 201st-ranked Sabbatini would not have qualified for South Africa with ten others ahead of him. Sabbatini also has a UK passport and US citizenship.[18]

Professional wins (8)

PGA Tour wins (6)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 3 Sep 2000 Air Canada Championship −16 (68-68-67-65=268) 1 stroke New Zealand Grant Waite
2 9 Jun 2003 FBR Capital Open −14 (68-66-68-68=270) 4 strokes United States Joe Durant, United States Fred Funk,
United States Duffy Waldorf
3 19 Feb 2006 Nissan Open −13 (67-65-67-72=271) 1 stroke Australia Adam Scott
4 27 May 2007 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial −14 (70-67-62-67=266) Playoff United States Jim Furyk, Germany Bernhard Langer
5 24 May 2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship −19 (68-64-65-64=261) 2 strokes England Brian Davis
6 6 Mar 2011 The Honda Classic −9 (71-64-66-70=271) 1 stroke South Korea Yang Yong-eun

PGA Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2004 Buick Classic Spain Sergio García, Republic of Ireland Pádraig Harrington García won with birdie on third extra hole
Harrington eliminated by par on second hole
2 2007 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial United States Jim Furyk, Germany Bernhard Langer Won with birdie on first extra hole

Other wins (2)

World Golf Championships (1)
Other wins (1)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 16 Nov 2003 WGC-World Cup
(with South Africa Trevor Immelman)
−13 (70-69-63-73=275) 4 strokes  EnglandPaul Casey and Justin Rose
2 15 Dec 2019 QBE Shootout
(with United States Kevin Tway)
−31 (58-67-60=185) 2 strokes United States Jason Kokrak and United States J. T. Poston

Results in major championships

Results not in chronological order in 2020.

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT T36 T2 CUT T20
The Open Championship T54 T53 T66 CUT T26 CUT CUT CUT
PGA Championship 77 CUT CUT 68 CUT T74 CUT CUT T39 T67
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT T30 CUT
The Open Championship T54
PGA Championship CUT T74 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 2019 2020
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship T66
U.S. Open T43 T59
The Open Championship T16 NT
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
NT = No tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 1 0 1 1 2 10 3
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 7
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 6
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 10 6
Totals 0 1 0 1 1 3 49 22
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (2019 U.S. Open – 2020 U.S. Open, current)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1

Results in The Players Championship

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Players Championship CUT CUT CUT CUT T42 CUT CUT T44 T27 CUT
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
The Players Championship T39 T26 CUT 71 T38 T6 T30 T35
Tournament 2020 2021
The Players Championship C T67
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
C = Cancelled after the first round due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Results in World Golf Championships

Tournament 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Match Play R64 R16 R64 R32 R64 R64 R64
Championship T21 T41 T35 T70 T53 T28
Invitational T51 T2 T28 T36 T2 T27 T45 T48
Champions T45 T29
  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Team appearances



See also


  1. ^ "Week 38 2007 Ending 23 Sep 2007" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Rory Sabbatini je slovenský občan (Rory Sabbatini is a Slovak citizen)" (in Slovak). 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Rory Sabbatini now playing for Slovakia". USA Today. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  4. ^ George, Dave (4 March 2011). "Commentary: Instigator Rory Sabbatini speaks loudly, carries a big shtick". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 26 July 2013. In a Golf Magazine article posted on Rory's personal website, this South African of Italian, Irish and Scottish ancestry refers to himself as Jekyll and Hyde – intense and aggressive on the course and easy-going everywhere else.
  5. ^ 69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking
  6. ^ "Players who have reached the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Ranking since 1986". European Tour Official Guide 09 (PDF) (38th ed.). PGA European Tour. 2009. p. 558. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  7. ^ Official World Golf Ranking – 23 September 2007
  8. ^ "Golf Major Championships".
  9. ^ "Nation watches Sabbatini 'win' Par 3 Contest". ESPN. Associated Press. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Sabbatini Wins Byron Nelson After His Birdie on No. 16 Blunts a Late Charge". The New York Times. Associated Press. 24 May 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Rory Sabbatini and Kevin Tway win QBE Shootout". Associated Press. 15 December 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Sabbatini apologizes to Crane after snapping". ESPN. 14 June 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  13. ^ Hack, Damon (11 May 2007). "Sabbatini's Goal Is to Win Tournaments, Not Friends". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  14. ^ "Sabbatini has fan kicked off course". Associated Press. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Agent: Last-place Sabbatini withdraws due to shin splints". ESPN. Associated Press. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Report: Rory Sabbatini in trouble". ESPN. Associated Press. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Hoggard, Rex (9 January 2019). "Sabbatini says his new Slovak citizenship isn't about the Olympics". Golf Channel.

External links


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